Forget austerity or stimulus, innovation is the best solution to the UK’s economic woes. This is the firm claim in a report by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA). The group is calling for a “new conversation” about economic growth and points out that “the UK has experienced a lost decade of innovation, damaging long-term growth.”
NESTA's 12 step plan for an innovation-led return to economic prosperity
- Financial architecture: A £200m fund for early-stage ventures; freedom to raise money for the Green Investment Bank, and a new business banks to lend to growth sectors including advanced manufacture and life sciences.
- Rebalance government spending towards innovation: Invest the proceeds of the forthcoming 4G spectrum auction - estimated at £4bn - in science, technology and innovation.
- Government innovation procurement: Establish innovation spending to channel £1bn of government procurement through innovative businesses.
- Infrastructure investment: Relax planning restrictions around innovation clusters.
- Collective intelligence: Higher education funds for radical inventions around knowledge creation - putting design thinking at the heart of the new Catapult centres.
- Incentives for innovation: A £25m 'challenge prize' fund to inspire the nation to tackle big technological challenges.
- Measurement, data and standards: Reshape the tax credit system to recognise hidden innovation and R&D.
- Boosting innovation across the UK: Supporting innovation clusters where they are already thriving.
- Innovation in the labour market: Link procurement to local jobs, training and apprenticeships and encourage innovation around micro-jobs and micro-franchises. Support innovative projects such as Studio Schools/establish norm of one apprenticeship per £1m turnover.
- Public and social innovation: Demonstrate the most effective models and approaches to tackle the severest social challenges, with cross-government funding commitment for public service incubators to share the most effective models.
- Education: Create the next generation of digital makers, giving all teenagers the chance to make, code, design and program.
- Remove barriers to entrepreneurship: Change the immigration cap to welcome skilled foreign graduates and entrepreneurs, and recast regulation to encourage new market entry.
See here for full details of the NESTA report